Everyone says niching down is the best thing you can do for your business. But how far down should you niche? After starting Signature.email and it going nowhere for a number of months, at one point I decided I should focus on the education market, and try to get schools, colleges, and universities to use it. I changed the home page and pricing to reflect that. Crickets. That’s when I realized I had no knowledge of how to contact decision makers at schools, colleges, and universities, and there wasn’t enough search volume on those keywords alone to make the business go. Only after I un-niched it, put some more effort into launching it properly, and gaining some helpful links, did it finally (slowly) start to take off.
So it might seem that niching down didn’t work. But fact forward to today, even on Signature.email I maintain several landing pages such as email signatures for realtors, email signatures for non profits, and yes, even email signatures for colleges and schools. And these are effective landing pages that bring in many visitors and generate leads for the tool.
This Spring, I began a new experiment in niching down. I started working on a new idea: pottery studio management software. Can you get much more niche and specific than that? It’s not even for all pottery studios, really just those that are member based, and allow people to come in and use the space, wheels, clay, and kilns in a community sort of way. I was surprised that studios like that have some specific challenges and needs when it comes to collecting firing fees, membership fees, selling supplies, and selling classes.
This is a big gamble, while I have one studio on board already, I’m still unsure if I can sell to more pottery studios. There are some major differences in how I am approaching this business and niche than the last niche experiment I did with Signature.email:
- I can see their pain: Almost every pottery studio website I visit has a page about firing fees, and how they collect them. I can tell they are all using a hodgepodge of different ways of solving this problem.
- I have talked to them: I have talked to a number of pottery studio owners over the past months and I believe they are hungry for a solution that will help make managing things at their studio easier.
- I know where to advertise: When you have a small niche, knowing where to contact them becomes infinitely easier. There are very specific websites, reddit groups, and facebook groups where they hang out and chat about their work.
- I know how to contact them: I have already collected a number of emails and contact information for US based studios, and I also have learned a lot about using LinkedIn and other sales based tools for getting the word out about a product.
- The price is higher: This tool’s price is higher than a few bucks a month. So that can justify some direct sales and time to demo the software for pottery studio owners and managers.
So was niching down a good idea? Only time will tell if this has been a good gamble or not! Now the next phase is to put the product out there and listen intently to the feedback that comes back my way and let that shape the product to stand out in the market.